Wembley! Wembley! We’re the famous Arsenal, and we’re going to Wembley!
In addition to our extensive pre-match coverage of the game, we’ve gotten our writers together for a short prediction on how they think the game will pan out.
And if you think we’re just going to throw these predictions out there and then forget about them, fear not.
We’ll be back to take a look at how we did and laughing at the person who got it wrong more than anyone else.
Lee Hurley Win 4-0
Banana skins be damned! This is a new dawn, a new era and a new Arsenal that knows what it takes to win big games. History tells me that football will laugh in the face of my confidence, but I shall wave Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Francis Coquelin and any other number of superb Arsenal players in theirs while shouting ‘BRING IT ON, FECKERS!’
Early goal, nerves settled, football flowing. There’s only one winner here.
Helen Trantum Win 2-0
This is a game where the statistics point to just one result. Arsenal have beaten Reading on every occasion they’ve met. The last three games between the two clubs have seen an average of eight goals but Reading have had only one goal scorer in their last five games (Pogrebnyak, doubtful). Arsenal are the FA Cup holders, this is Reading’s first semi-final in 88 years.
So there can only be one result surely?
Last season’s somewhat stressful trips to Wembley saw us go behind in both games and require more than the full 90 to win. All the signs this season have pointed to us being more patient however, and I feel that this time around it might be rather plainer sailing.
I fancy that a couple of goals will be enough to break the Reading resistance given their difficulties scoring, so keeping it tight defensively will give us the platform to win this one in normal time.
Stephen Bradley Win 3-0
Whilst it’s tempting to be ‘that‘ guy and predict extra-time or penalties just so I can say ‘I told you so‘ if it happens, this really is a game that should be won quite comfortably.
In Reading’s last 13 games against Championship opposition, they’ve won two. Are they going to be up for the game? Yes. Are they going to sit back and try to counter all game? Yes. Are they good enough to keep us from scoring? Absolutely not.
Paul Williams Win 2-0
It would be so very, very Arsenal to, er, Arsenal this one up when least expected, wouldn’t it?
I don’t see it myself.
Whilst Wembley semi finals, or indeed any of our FA Cup semi finals under Arsene Wenger, have rarely been pretty (particularly, to quote Al Pacino, last year’s “triple decker stress sandwich”), they have usually been successful.
In fact, only Manchester United (twice) have beaten Arsenal in a semi final since the arrival of Le Boss.
This is Arsenal’s strongest squad in years, we’re playing a Reading team 18th in the Championship, if we don’t win we can expect to be laughed at for a very long time.
Though it might not be as easy as we’d like, I don’t think that anyone will be laughing at us after this one.
Even with a few changes- Szczesny, the full backs, maybe one or two in midfield and Welbz up top – 2-0.
Sylvain Jamet Win 2-0
Reading at Wembley in a FA Cup semi-final is a potential banana skin. I believe the team is surfing on a positive wave and therefore will win.
There are not many easy games those days so I expect a tight 2-0 win with Giroud and Mertesacker on the scoresheet.
Lewis Ambrose Win 3-0
Nothing quite like 12 months ago and the trip to Wembley for the semi-final against Wigan.
Going into that one our form was ropey, we had no momentum, and key players were still out. That all culminated in two of the most tense hours of my life. Mertesacker’s equaliser possibly kept Arsène Wenger in a job at the club.
That won’t be needed this time. Confident, on form, and with plenty of depth, we’ve been starting games quickly and punishing teams.
Arsenal 3-0 Reading.
Nia Griffiths Win 2-0
I once tweeted about how I’m the most rational, least superstitious person in the world until it comes to football. Well, predicting a semi-final feels a bit like a jinx but I do think we’ll win.
Although, most of the pundits and half the world will want a potential upset, which in past years we’ve been capable of delivering, I reckon this time we might’ve overcome our strange need to humiliate ourselves publicly.
Reading aren’t exactly soaring in the Championship. They’re hovering around the lower half of the table and picking up the odd point here and there. While we’re on an excellent run of form with our team performing all over the pitch.
If we don’t win this, something has gone terribly wrong. 2-0 to Arsenal.
Sean Ferguson Win 2-0
We’re favourites, we’re on a good run and we’re playing a team closer to the relegation zone than the play-offs in the Championships. We should be winning this about 5 or 6-0 but unfortunately football isn’t always that simple.
Reading have nothing to lose, while we have everything. This will be their one shot at a FA Cup final or even a day out at Wembley for most of their players. They’ll come to sit back, frustrate us and try and hit us on the break or from a set piece.
It appears we have everyone except The Ox and Arteta available so it should be a fairly strong line up as there is an eight day gap until the Chelsea game. I think it’ll be Woj, Gibbs, Gabriel and Welbeck in for Ospina, Monreal, Kos and Santi, with Ramsey moving alongside Le Coq in centre mid with Welbeck on the right.
I ‘m confident we’ll win but I won’t get too carried away, I’ll be sensible and go for a 2-0 win. Giroud and Welbeck with the goals.
Mark Fine Win 2-0
The last time we did this it was over two years ago at the Emirates in what was Nigel Adkins’ first game in charge of Reading. We won 4-1 that night with goals from Gervinho, Cazorla, Giroud, and Arteta.
But this is Steve Clarke’s Reading, who just lost 0-1 at home to Championship-leading side Bournemouth, and drew 0-0 to 9th place Blackburn. I should add that Reading are 18th in that league after 42 games played, with a -20 goal difference.
All that said, they’ve made it this far in the FA Cup, which should account for something. That something is the Cup’s magic working, but I think their magic is about to run out. Not even newly-signed Nathan Ake, on loan from Chelsea, can help them, because he’s cup tied.
While I think they will play a heavily defensive game, our run of form and new-found patience and experience will shine through for a 2-0 win – and a return trip to the final to meet the winner of Liverpool/Aston Villa.
Anita Sambol Win 3-1
Hard to think of anything but a win is possible on Saturday. We’re in a great form, very focused on defending the Cup, and Reading are the weakest team left in competition for sure. Wembley, Cup magic, great run of games behind us – final, here we come. 3-1.
Charlotte Marshall Win 2-0
I think this will be a relatively simple 2-0 win to Arsenal, with a goal in each half. We’re on a great run with an almost completely uninjured squad *pinches self*. Can’t see anything other than an Arsenal win. Which is making me nervous…